Annual service of commemoration at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Thursday 8 November 11 a.m.

The names of homeless and formerly homeless people, who have died over the last year in London, will be remembered at the annual service of commemoration at St Martin-in-the-Fields on:

Thursday, 8 November at 11am.

All are welcome to attend.

Please download the poster to circulate to colleagues or print out for your notice boards.

The service, organised by The Connection at St Martin’s, St Martin-in-the-Fields and Housing Justice, brings together everyone who wants to remember those who have died during the year, whether still on the streets, in hostels or those who have moved in to accommodation after being homeless. The name of each person who has died will be read out during the service with Streetwise Opera and the Choir with No Name once again involved together with a symbolic action this year that will include a special performance of Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1lnSi7QWY8 – thanks to Gavin Bryars.

  

The reflection for the service will be led by Revd. Richard Carter of St Martin-in-the-Field’s. Rev Richard Carter explains: “A home is not a luxury for the rich- it’s something every single human being should have. Everyone should be invited inside and no one should have to sleep outside on the streets or on buses or simply be walking all night to keep warm. Housing is a human right but far too many people are unable to find affordable housing and more and more people are trying to survive on the streets. The sad statistics show that many struggle and there are tragically those who do not survive. The average life expectancy for someone who is homeless is 47 rather than 77 years.”

The tragically long list of names powerfully symbolises the struggles for many in London today, how easy it is to become homeless, and how incredibly difficult it is in this capital city to find affordable housing. This service will be attended by many who have known homelessness themselves, many who work to provide support for homeless and vulnerable people and all who care for the plight of homeless people and believe that all people should have a home.

Pam Orchard, Chief Executive of The Connection at St Martin’s, tells us: “Homelessness is becoming more and more visible in every town and city across the UK. There are lots of factors at play which are putting people at an increased risk finding themselves homeless. A restriction to benefits, a lack of affordable housing and fewer support services to help people with mental health and addictions make people very vulnerable. We know that the key to recovery involves more than just hot food and showers which is why we work with people to address the root cause of their homelessness. Our daily street outreach service is vital as it catches new people arriving on to the streets, and persists to help people who have been sleeping rough for much longer. Homelessness is devastating and life limiting so helping people quickly is vital to their long term well-being and recovery.”

Kathy Mohan, Chief Executive of Housing Justice says;

“The annual service of commemoration is a moving and very special experience. During the service we honour and remember those who have passed away over the last year whilst experiencing or having experienced homelessness. But we also stiffen our resolve that in the fifth wealthiest nation on earth, no one should die without access to housing. During this ceremony through performances and testimony, we hear from people with lived experience of homelessness and we remember that it is not a person’s homelessness that defines them but their unique gifts and potential, and our common humanity that binds us all together.”

Names

With thanks to all those that have already submitted names, this is a final call to send us the names of those you have known to have died in London in the last year to be read out during the service. You can either email the names to info@housingjustice.org.uk or register their names online at http://www.housingjustice.org.uk/forms/remember.

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